Abusing an animal is against the law here in California. Penal Code 597 charges those who maliciously act to harm living animals. Animal abuse can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California.
Find out more about PC 597 charges with the Simmrin Law Group. An animal abuse conviction can lead to fines and incarceration. Let us help. Call (310) 997-4688 today.
How the Law Defines Animal Abuse in California
The courts define the abuse of an animal as the mistreatment of any living animal in California. Mistreating an animal can lead to criminal charges. This charge applies if someone:
- Maims an animal
- Mutilates or tortures an animal
- Wounds an animal
- Kills an animal
The law defines the act of “maiming” an animal as:
- Disabling it
- Disfiguring it
- Removing one of its limbs, organs, or body parts
The state of California also has its own definition of “torture.” Torture occurs if someone inflicts pain or suffering on another living being. Torture can occur through neglect or even a failure to act to ease an animal’s suffering in California.
All acts of animal abuse must have occurred maliciously in California for PC 597 charges to apply. Accidental actions do not qualify as torture in California.
Charges Related to Animal Abuse in California
Several charges relate to animal abuse in California. Many charges are more specific, while PC 597 is more of a general charge. For example, individuals can face charges for:
- The sexual abuse of animals
- Poisoning animals
You can learn more about how to fight PC 597 and other animal abuse charges with a violent crimes lawyer in Los Angeles. The Simmrin Law Group is prepared to provide you with the answers you want and the defenses you need.
Penalties for an Animal Abuse Conviction
Individuals can face either misdemeanor or felony charges for animal abuse in California. This is because animal abuse is a “wobbler.” The prosecution gets to determine how to treat this charge. The prosecution looks at several factors when making this decision, including:
- The defendant’s past criminal history
- The facts of the current case
A misdemeanor conviction for animal abuse can lead to:
- Fines of up to $20,000
- Jail time of up to one year
Felony charges are more serious. These convictions can result in:
- Fines of up to $20,000
- Prison time of up the three years
Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges, the Simmrin Law Group can help. Just call us at (310) 997-4688.
Legal Defenses Against PC 597 Charges in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you review your defenses against animal abuse charges in California. Your lawyer can help you show that:
You Acted in Self-Defense
You are legally allowed to protect yourself in California. You can also protect other people if you believe they are being threatened with physical harm or death. If your actions lead to the hurting of an animal, in this case you would have acted in self-defense and may be able to avoid a conviction.
You Were Not Responsible for Providing the Animal with Care
Some acts of animal abuse occur through neglect. Consider the following example. A dog is staked outside on a hot day without any water. Eventually, the dog perishes from the heat. If you were not responsible for this animal, your lawyer can help you build your defense.
You Did Not Have the Means to Care for an Animal
In some situations, animal neglect happens despite the owner’s best efforts. Perhaps you were once able to care for your pet, but you have since lost your job. You may not have the funds to provide sufficient food for the animal. Talk to a lawyer about how to handle your situation in this case.
Contact a Lawyer About Animal Abuse Charges Now
Work with the Simmrin Law Group if you were accused of animal abuse in California. We are ready to help you build a defense if you were charged under Penal Code 597. It’s easy to contact us when you need help. Just call (310) 997-4688. You can also fill out our online contact form. We’ll investigate your charges and get to work on your case quickly.
Take the first step in handling animal abuse allegations by contacting us for a free consultation.